More Flavor From Fruit Woods

Discussion in 'Woods for Smoking' started by vision, Oct 24, 2011.

  1. What can be done to get more flavor when using fruit woods. I love the way they smell but I never seem to get enough of the smoke on the food. The one exception was a brisket which went 7 hours before foiling, it had a beautiful cherry flavor to it.

    Do I need to cook at the lowest temp possible to keep the smoke on it? What about pouring the smoke on?
  2. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    What smoker are you using?

    Chips, Chunks or ??

  3. raymo76

    raymo76 Smoking Fanatic

    Some people use freshly cut fruit wood. I have not personally used freshly cut wood myself.
  4. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Vision, I think you need to look more closely at which woods you use for specific foods. Fruit woods go well with most anything you toss over them, but for stronger flavored meats such as beef, lamb, venison and many other game meats, you need stronger smoke to better match the food. Beef with cherry smoke fits well because cherry is one of the heavier fruit smokes, while apple, peach, pear (among others) may not do much for beef other than add that subtle sweetness to the back-ground, as they are a much lighter and milder smoke than cherry.

    Also, if you have a particular fruit wood that you really like, but want to pair it up for a stronger flavored meat such as brisket or other cuts of beef, you can blend in some hickory to add a bit of sharpness, or mesquite to give it a heavier flavor, and this can give the sweeter/lighter profile of the fruit wood just enough push to bring it all home. It's all about matching the wood to the meat, cheese, nuts, fish or veggies, etc, and playing a trick or two when you don't have a good match-up and you are looking for that elusive flavor profile. And, don't forget the possibilities that nut-woods such as pecan can offer to the fruit-woods as a blend.

    You mentioned possibly smoking at lower temps for better smoke flavoring...I've done that myself, quite often, with loin back ribs (and many other cuts too numerous to mention) and a start-up temp in the 200* range and apple/pecan or apple/pecan/cherry works wonders more often than not. Bump it up about 35* after an hour and smoke away.

    You said 7 hours smoke for a brisket before foiling? Center cut (trimmed flat) I presume...a packer, unless very small, will run into the 2 hr/lb least mine do, and I've never been short on smoke with briskets.

    For what I would normally smoke at 225*, such as a butt or packer brisket, a lower temp start-up, when possible (I use propane fired smokers alot, and they work great for this purpose) can add to the smoke reaction time, but I try to use this method only with intact whole muscle meats so I don't have to sweat over the time/temp guidelines so much. I may start with a cold smokers, fire up on high with the chamber door open to get the smoke wood started, then, close the door and back off the heat to bring it up to around 200* or less. Give it 30-45 minutes and bump to 250* for a couple hours, and then settle it in at 225*.

    With a charcoal fired rig, I may have it firing at 185-200*, drop in the meat and give it half an hour or more before bumping the intakes open a few cracks.


  5. Myron Mixon told me fresh fruit wood is the way to go.
  6. Eric, the brisket I smoked was a trimmed flat about 5lbs.

    I like the taste of different fruit woods and hope to use them with more effect. I can really tell the difference on cheese when using an AMAZN.

    What is your theory of starting colder then increasing temps?
  7. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Yeah, I figured it was a center-cut brisket.

    Fruit and/or nut-woods for cheese are great. I f you can get some pecan to go with cherry, give it a whirl on medium cheddar and co-jack...that's good stuff, and you won't break the bank buying cheese.

    The cold start-ups for meat gives a bit longer time for smoke reaction before the meat reaches it's temp where it doesn't seem to take on any more smoke. I don't like to use this method for fresh non-intact whole muscle meats, unless it's smaller cuts, otherwise, with heavier cuts it can cause danger-zone time/temp issues. Although with stronger smoke woods such as mesquite or hickory, this hasn't been much of a thought for me, while using more and more fruit-woods for the past year, I find it can be very beneficial.

    With intact whole muscle meats, such as bone-in butts or brisket, I use cold start-up for two main reasons:

    1. longer smoke reaction time, which seems to give a deeper smoke flavor (this is the main reason I use cold start-ups);

    2. slightly extended time in the mid-range of internal temps for more tenderization of the lesser/tougher meat cuts (I haven't actually proven this in a trial yet, which would be extremely difficult, but I have noticed some subtle differences in tenderness with both sliced and pulled meats using cold start-up vs hot start-up).

    With cold start-up, then bumping "over-temp" for awhile and backing it off to target chamber temps, cooking times don't seem be effected very much...slightly longer sometimes, but not alot.

  8. I'm not getting why you bump the temps up and then bring them down to the target temp.

    Next smoke I'm going to pour the smoke on and see what happens. Maybe TBS with fruit woods is not the only way.
  9. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I bump temps up after the cold start to offset or compensate for the lack of initial thermal absoption into the meat, more or less. Then, drop back to target temps and let it cruise to the finish. With low and slow cooking, say 225* chamber temps, you're OK to put intact whole muscle meats into this envoronment, regardless of weight, sectional density, etc, even though your actual internal temp may not reach 135* in 4 hours or less. 41-135* internal in 4 hours or less is the new (most recent) USDA guideline for non-intact meats in order to be considered safe to eat. With intact whole muscle meats (non-injected or punctured/tenderized, bone-in, non-ground/mascerated), it's more a matter of pasturizing the surface.

    Hmm, even with fruit, you may get some bitterness to the smoke if it's coming on too heavy or ventilation issues arise...may not be the best route to go. I still think getting a bit longer smoke reaction time will help more than anything else.

    Oh, and don't forget the old smoke cloud syndrome: You may not taste or smell much smoke in your food because you've been carrying around with you all day, on your clothes, in your hair, etc. It de-sensitizes your abilitiy to smell and taste the day after a shower and change of clothes, leftover smoked food tastes and smells fine...been there.

  10. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Vision, Eric has good info. and will work for you,however,the suggestion to use green fruitwood... I really would not suggest you use that idea as there is a lot of nasties in green wood, and if you don't pre-burn , you'll have some nasty tasting meat ,trust me on this one[​IMG].

    Choose the type of Smoke flavor you want and use cured chunks,and look into wood/meat matches as Eric said...i.e.-Fish goes well with Alder or Maple, but Hickory is a bit strong for that purpose.

    Just sayin'...........
  11. donr

    donr Smoking Fanatic

    If you soak your wood in the juice of the fruit of the tree you are using, it may bump up the flavor.  I am thinking similar to bourbon barrel or wine barrel wood that is used.


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